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DiBella’s Subs “Pay It Forward” Program and Community Support Win International Awards

Oct 22, 2020

DiBella's Subs donated boxed lunches through our YOU GIVE/WE GIVE program to the team at the Maplewood Nursing Home in Webster, NY.

DiBella’s Subs partnerships with local food banks and providing comfort to thousands of healthcare heroes and frontline workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has earned international accolades. The restaurant’s familial and community-minded approach garnered two Platinum Awards from the MarCom Awards – one of the most prestigious creative competitions in the world!  

While many businesses focused on staying afloat during the pandemic, DiBella’s Subs launched several new charitable initiatives to help heroes across the 15 communities it serves. This initiative - to raise money for food banks, feed frontline workers, healthcare heroes, veterans and teachers - made news headlines more than 80 times and led to hundreds of supportive social media posts. 

DiBella’s Subs, which instills a familial culture among its employees and guests, has always been committed to the communities it serves and demonstrates its commitment by giving back. When COVID-19 hit the U.S., DiBella’s Subs jumped into action right away. 

In March 2020, DiBella’s Subs partnered with food banks in all of its markets to raise funds – donating $365,000 to food banks in Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania – and supply more than one million meals.  

Simultaneously, DiBella’s Subs focused on essential workers. In March and April, DiBella’s Subs Essential Workers Discount Program helped 314,285 healthcare heroes to save $1.1 million on their meals. The sandwich shop also launched two “Pay It Forward” campaigns to thank frontline workers, including doctors, nurses, first responders, nursing home employees, and teachers. 

The first “Pay it Forward" campaign - which granted a 50% discount to any customer who wished to donate a tray of subs to feed essential workers - has fed more than 20,000 frontline workers to date. This incredible feat earned a “Platinum” score in the award competition’s “Special Event” category.  

In May, DiBella’s Subs added a “You Give, We Give” component. The company opened the program from trays of subs to individual boxed lunches and matched donations made by customers. Throughout May and June, first responders and nursing home workers were treated to an additional 4,520 boxed lunches, with each delivery treated as its own special event. 

On one day at the height of campaign, DiBella’s Subs catering managers in Cleveland, Columbus, Canton, Cincinnati, Dayton, Youngstown, Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Ithaca, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, Detroit, and West Haven delivered more than 4,000 trays of subs to VA Hospitals during the lunch hour, as part of 20 simultaneous special events!  

The monetary value of DiBella’s Subs donations through these two initiatives is more than $117,500! 

This important work earned the DiBella’s Subs team a second “Platinum” score in the Publicity Campaign category. Platinum is the highest honor possible through the MarCom Awards.   

The MarCom Awards recognize the outstanding achievement by creative professionals involved in the concept, direction, design, and production of marketing and communication materials and programs. Entries come from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, public relations firms, design shops, production companies, and freelancers. DiBella’s Subs was nominated by the Syracuse-based public relations firm, Strategic Communications, LLC.